July 2019

July meant school is out, and with my eldest finishing full-time education I felt a bit bereft. Suddenly looking back and seeing where I was 18 years ago and getting an urge to go back to uni. This did not last long when I looked at the fees, even for OU, bit of a er, well I shouldn't say out loud but I did I think that Educating Rita would never have been written in this era. Anyway, with dreams of studying design history or creative writing behind me I got on with the rest of the month.

I went to a very good talk at The Keep on The Women’s Land Army. Cannot get those trousers out of my head. Sturdy, with loads of pockets, I wonder if anyone makes them these days to the same pattern - or if the pattern is available. Would sort out my winter wardrobe. The person giving the talk had a lovely combination of passion and knowledge for the subject, with his mother a landgirl in Sussex and having researched the subject for 25 years. Humbling to hear how hard they worked, wasn’t all fabuolous hair and lipstick, they did tough jobs and long hours. My mum said our old neightbour descrbed being in the Land Army as the best time of her life, something which the speaker said many women told him, so despite the hard work, the freedom and friendships must have been some compensation.

In my textile work I carried on with my history/story work. Things have been quite busy so I have not been able to dive into it, but chipped away. One of the strands comes from a photo album I recently aquired. I have no idea who the people are, but they look like a close knit family and most of the photos were taken in Brighton, with dates added. The image below is from the mid 1920s, and taken on Brighton Beach. The parasol crops up in a few of the pics and I love this one. Staged, but a world (and nearly a century) away from the Instagram style shots that we all do today.

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The good weather means early morning walks along the seafront. Love it, although to be fair I also enjoy the promonade when it is raining - pretty much any time it is quiet. A highlight at the moment is the upside down house, fun and it adds a pop of unexpected colour. The West Pier is always great to photograph and I must do a piece of work based on the Mecure. I love this building. You need to see it from the seafront but it reminds me of an Edwardian cake - just look at the chimney stack on the side (I walk along here and look at it a lot..!). The curves match those of the pier opposite, birdcage maybe (well the pier is certainly that). I am sure I read somewhere that the pier is one of the most photographed images in Brighton, maybe it should be preserved as it is to make sure what is left still stands.

As I was twiddling fingers to find out what was happening with the big project which took up the first part of the year (an unexpected pause due to some office reshuffling), I tried to use the time to catch up with everyone I had missed over the spring. I had been to see my friend at her studio in Billingshurst a few times earlier in the year but it had been very work focussed (she has the magical quilting machine) so I popped in for lunch, a quick chat about quilting and a long chat about Murder She Wrote (LOVE Angela Lansbury). Her studio is on a farm, and as soon as I parked the sheep came to say hello. I mentioned I did not know how to greet a sheep - don’t get any walking around central Hove. She bought some food out, and Terri who joined us and is also a country ‘sort’ showed me how to say hi. Very sweet, could have bought one home but I don’t know what it would make of the dog. Terri is also a spinner so had her eye on fleece. I haven’t got time for another craft at the mo but how wonderful would it be to create something from a fibre that is in the same county as you live.

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After getting burnt out it was good to feel my quilt vibe coming back. On what they think will be the hottest day of the year I drove to outer London to give a talk to Isleworth Embroiderer’s Guild about the Jane Austen community quilt. I agreed to give this talk and another in October at the end of the project in March 2018, so it was lovely to gather everything again and revisit the quilt. I also prepped a baby party quilt. These are usually done in Brighton, but in this case the first baby had a Brighton party but the family had now moved away. So I packaged everything in a box with instructions and popped it in the post, when it comes back I will make it into a quilt (quilting by Carolyn the sheep whisperer) then send it back. I loved getting the fabrics together- a grey, turquoise, white and dark blue pallette was requested.

So that was my month. Again, not too much sewing but moving forward. Ideas coming together - I often think they need to mooch for a while. It is like the ideas float around and then one gets picked - a bit like lottery balls!

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